Is there a term for a form of democracy that allows with online technologies (such as blockchain) to vote on micro-issues directly, for instance on placing of a bus stop in a city, etc?

I am developing a technology tree for a 4X video game mod, and considering this as a possible invention or wonder, that requires "blockchain" technology (another invention based on blockchain is "cryptocurrency"), so I need an established name for this.

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    Why do one need blockchain for this? Online polls have existed for decades now.
    – Roger V.
    Jan 5 at 9:38
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    The choice of terms depends on whether you want cool-sounding buzzwords for your game or the terms that political scientists use (even if they're opaque or boring to ordinary game-players.)
    – Stuart F
    Jan 5 at 11:23
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    Blockchain does literally nothing to make this more viable Jan 5 at 19:27
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    @RogerV.: While I do agree on that aspect of implementing a blockchain being a bad idea here, it sounds like they're talking about the game's characters using a "Blockchain" Wonder upgrade for something like Civilization, in the same way one might build the "Library of Alexandria" Wonder upgrade to achieve an end-goal condition. Jan 5 at 23:18
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    @JackAidley Add it to the long, long, long list of things that Bleckchain won't actually do anything to solve. Jan 6 at 0:06

2 Answers 2


The concept of voters voting on issues directly is technology-neutral described as direct democracy.

If you want to bring computers into this, then online voting might be a buzzword you are looking for.

One interesting concept that is perhaps not exactly what you are looking for but might still go into that direction is the idea of liquid democracy. An online voting system where people can decide whether they want to vote on issues themselves or delegate their votes on certain areas of expertise to a representative of their choice. The idea was mostly hyped by the pirate parties, but it lost traction when the pirate parties did.

If you want to look into how electronic voting using blockchains (doesn't) work in practice, then you could look at decentralized autonomous organizations.

During the short-lived blockchain hype a couple years ago, there were some people who discussed the idea of using blockchains for online voting for official governments. But AFAIK those mostly remained thought experiments. The idea never really caught on in mainstream politics. Because as with so many blockchain use-cases that were proposed during that time, it was a solution desperately looking for a problem. I don't really think that any proper term for the idea caught on either.

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    The main problem with blockchains, in my experience, is that about 90-100% of their purported applications would be served more cheaply and effectively with a single centralized database. Blockchains are supposed to eliminate the need to trust the central government (or whoever owns the database), but you still ultimately need some organization to translate the blockchain's decisions into real-world action, and that requires trust anyway, so you may as well give them the database too.
    – Kevin
    Jan 5 at 20:15
  • On a related sci-fi note, author Alastair Reynolds has a society called the Demarchists in his Revelation Space series: revelationspace.fandom.com/wiki/Demarchists "The Demarchy functioned by means of a neural implant that constantly sought the user's opinion on aspects of Demarchist life. This constant prompting eventually faded away into the user's neural background, much like the ticking of a clock might fade away into background noise." Jan 5 at 21:50

The practice of voting on issues directly is called a "referendum."

Referendums are sometimes used by governments which otherwise use other procedures for making decisions.

I don't think there has ever been a government ruling exclusively through referenda.

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